The Co-Founder: Does he smell like cheese?


Look, there are a lot of important things in life: the school you choose, the wife you choose, where, and with whom, you invest your money. But for a person with a great idea, the choice of who you share it with, and agree to become partners, becomes a critical juncture in life.

The sniff test, if you will, is could you survive with this person if he smelled like cheese?

Bear with me...

What follows is a rough, truncated version of my story.

I had multiple bad experiences finding a business loan. Despite the solid fundamentals of my business and personal situation, I always felt inadequate; like the banker was intentionally trying to find the one thing wrong with me in the sea of right.

The whole process seemed so one-sided:

I lay my entire financial life in front of the bank, they know everything about me, and I know nothing about them, their rates, or what their pressure points are in this negotiation.

It felt dirty.

After going through this process nine times in ten years, I said there has got to be a better way. I created a rough two-page website for Magilla and brought it to a friend; a friend who I met at my sons' school and who I thought was funny.

Yes, I just said that, "Who I thought was funny."

He said, "Your site sucks. Let find you something to use on the internet."

For some reason I wasn't offended by his vitriol. Maybe because I knew my site sucked or maybe because I didn't care what he said because I just genuinely liked the guy.

Either way it was solid intuition on my part.

Two days later, he calls me and says, "You better come to my office."

When we met again, he said, "It doesn't exist."

I said, "I know. That's why I built it."

What followed were endless days, nights, and weekends of creating our own website as he taught himself to code (unreal, right?) and I looked over his shoulder asking, "Could it go there?" or "Try this."

And, wait for it, here's where it comes in...

Does he smell like cheese?

If your partner in crime smells like cheese and you can still work with him, then you got the right partner for the job... the sniff test.

Now my co-founder, a fastidiously neat, kempt, and well-groomed man, is quick to point out he never smelled like Camembert, yet the point is still germane to your choosing a co-founder. You have to really like, and respect, the person with whom you are going through this journey. There is a lot of give and take and there are times when you will need to subjugate your feelings, or instincts, and other times when you need to stand up for what you believe is right.

I guess it's a lot like a marriage that way.

Needless to say, if your partner smells like cheese and you can still stand to work with him, then you have the right man for the job.

It's called respect.

This post originally appeared on The Whole Magilla and was written by Chris Meyer, co-founder of

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